In a world of sensory overload, a typical and in some ways not surprising reaction is to shut down. This experience “results in apathy, anesthesia or vacancy”, according to artist Kyla Kegler. Her suggestion is to return to a connection with our internal knowing and physical empathy, to dwell in daily sensation.
To that end, she has created an art show that bridges art and therapy, that encourages us to find what we are seeking, the experience of genuine presence. The show is called “feel me”. The opening reception is Saturday, May 5th from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m. with an 8:00 p.m. performance at Box Gallery in the Hostel Buffalo Niagara building at 667 Main Street. The exhibit will remain open daily from 5:00 until 10:00 p.m. through June 15th.
The installation will be activated by a weekly Sunday workshop for dwelling in sensation called Breath and Ball Therapy, as well as private Thai massage sessions. Details about registering for both the workshops and to book the massage will be released at the opening reception, and posted at the following address after the show has opened:
When the gallery is not being activated by a programmed event, people are invited to drop in for a 30-minute slot of solo time in the space during gallery hours, to explore introspection and sensation in solitude.
In the written material that accompanies Kegler’s visual statements, she defines her work as a manual for finding feeling. We have a body that receives sensory messages from both the outer and inner worlds, a sort of objective reality. Our feelings communicate our personal subjective reaction to that reality. Kegler suggests that our greatest expression comes when we integrate the physical sensory experience and the emotional one.
Kegler comes to this work through her lived, broad-based experiences. Before beginning this current artistic project, she accumulated experiential field research as a therapeutic bodyworker, yoga teacher, dancer and puppet-maker. In those realms, she focused on the physical, and the language connected to the “nuanced, essential, base experiences of the body”. Kegler’s show is the final thesis exhibition for her Master’s in Fine Arts at UB. During the MFA, her research has focused on bridging the gap between the cognitive language of visual art and the somatic language of her physical practices.
In order to create the work in this show, she referenced the experience and language of both paradigms. According to Kegler, “In merging the already-overlapping wisdom of these two fields, we can deepen and diversity our engagement with the internal world of the self.”
Kegler’s abstract paintings as well as whimsical sculptural pieces are presently hanging in the lobby of 500 Seneca Street until the show comes down on April 28th at 5:00 p.m.. They are worth visiting as they are the result of an embodied practice of creating visual art which was therapeutic for the artist and is also pleasing to viewers. This second show at Box Gallery is more explicitly focused on the sensual experience of the gallery-goer. Participants will be called into awareness of the personal inner experience while in a social, art environment. Ultimately, that’s what we are going for and since it is an internal process, it is largely invisible and often ignored, although the impact of integrating inner and outer realms, of mind and body, emotion and sensation is great. Think about it.
Sometimes the most radical thing we can do is show up. Really. See you there.